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151# Boulevard of broken dreams

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

- Hi Lucio, it’s Raz. The guy with a Sprinter van, remember?

- Hola amigo, how are you doing?

- I’m fine thank you. Tell me, is your offer still on?

I needed to get my shit together. That started with selling La Chichona and all that was in it. I dropped Heidi at the airport and headed for the closest city on the coast. Jaco, Costa Rica, felt like a cheap casino town. I found a camping ground right on the beach with basic facilities, wifi, and shade. The space was huge and neglected, but I was here for one reason, and time was not on my side.

A bald Caribbean man lifted the gate for La Chichona. I parked next to a massive Kapok tree—which roots stuck out of the ground like petrified snakes. I introduced myself to the Caribbean man and offered him a beer. “Thank you. Beer is my medicine”, he said. His name was Arturo. He looked much younger than he was, the way Caribbean men do, and he talked a lot. Arturo had kidney issues which caused him to drink only beer; anything else hurt him apparently. I told him why I came to Jaco. “Jaco...El burdel de Costa Rica!”, he said bitterly. He added that the camping owner was looking for tools. In the evening, I got him a second beer.

The next morning, I took everything out of the van and laid it out for pictures; all my possessions in one trunk. Winter clothes, camping gear, toolboxes, surf boards, construction tools, etc. Most things I did not need or had forgotten about. Arturo stared with a greedy eye. I promised him a few gifts if he helped me spread the word.

Arturo did word-of-mouth advertising. He introduced me to the camping full-time residents, who stayed in tiny rooms lined up by the entrance. Side by side lived an old man, a handsome Argentinian, a fat drug dealer, and a bony prostitute. The Argentinian wanted to see my boards. I posted ads online, people came, and La Chichona kept losing weight. In a few days, I had sold all my tools, half my gear, and had six people interested in the van. Jaco wasn't so bad after all.

On Friday morning, a local named Lucio videocalled me about la Chichona. He lived in a hacienda near the capital, and collected cars, among other things. Lucio had half a dozen cars and double the bikes. He bought, converted, and sold vehicles for fun and profit. Lucio said Jaco was not the place to sell a car. Then he invited me over and offered $5000 for La Chichona—a thousand less than listed. I laughed and retorted, “thank you, but I have six other people waiting to see it. I’ll call you back if things change.”

Things did change. That same afternoon, herds of people invaded the quiet camping ground for the weekend. They came to party, got fucked up to oblivion, and left their trash behind. I was craving sleep after three rough nights, when the camping owner brought a shining red rooster. I hate roosters, and that feathered scum liked to fly out of its pen at night, sneak under my window, and crow right when I fell asleep. On a burst of rage, I walked to the camping owner with cash in hand to buy it (and twist its vicious neck). But the guy wanted $1500 as it was a gamecock he bred for gambling. I wished one a quick death and the other a slow and painful one.

My beginner's luck left after the first week. The six leads I had for the van fell like dominoes when they discovered they had to pay $5800 to register the car in Costa Rica. This meant I could only sell La Chichona to a traveler, or for peanuts at the junkyard. With each cancellation I grew frustrated and washed my anger in the ocean. At least the waves were good.

At night, Arturo claimed his beer and gossiped about his neighbors. The old man was the parking attendant, and his constant anger turned to dementia. He quarreled with everyone, himself included, and scared people off. The handsome Argentinian came to Costa Rica to be a pro surfer, then an instructor, then something, then anything. He rented surfboards from a shack and spent his earnings on weed. The fat drug dealer was losing business to the new kids who delivered drugs at parties directly on the beach. And the anorexic prostitute was rumored to have AIDS. She always smiled to me, a trashy decaying smile. Poor thing. I wanted to wrap a blanket around her and hush her up to a peaceful eternal sleep. Every night, the scene on that alley repeated itself. The old man ranted. The Argentinian got stoned. The dealer complained. The prostitute smiled. And Arturo drank.

Beneath its Kapok trees and pretty iguanas, the camping vibe was morbid. It lured people in, broke their spirit, and swallowed them alive like a warm mud bath turned into quicksand. The camping residents sat side by side in front of their rooms. Held by invisible hands, they sank every night, a little deeper into poverty. This is how you’re gonna end up if you don’t get your shit together.

The next morning, I called Lucio to accept his offer.

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